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age descrimination

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Joe Nerve, Feb 26, 2003.

  1. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    another birthday just past so i'm goin through another mini crisis - and just had an experience to kinda drive it home.

    i auditioned for a pretty happening group last week that advertised they wanted someone btwn 20 & 30. I lied about my age, and when i met the lead singer I told her i lied. She laughed saying it was cool, she liked the way i looked. i told her i'd be happy to tell her my real age after i played with them.

    we meet and talk a couple of times. i play with them. we play 2 hours in the studio. we're talking about lots of things, getting other guitarists, she tells me she thought i was great, and i get the general feeling i'm in. we plan to get together with another guitarist during the week - i feel safe, i tell her my age. the response is, "holy sh#t" as that's usually the response I get, I honestly don't look my years, and she asks why i don't just come right out with it, i should be proud. I then asked if I were honest in our initial phone call if she'd have ever auditioned me and she admitted she wouldn't have.

    she left, 2 days later i got a call saying she's going with someone else. while there could have been lots of reasons she made this choice, i'm usually pretty keen and sensitive to my surroundings, and i'm 99% sure my age was the deciding factor.

    so? and i'm gonna get a little spirtual and ethical on ya now. I want to play in other groups aside from the nerve. do I lie about my age and accept it? i don't lie about anything. i believe if i'm meant to be somewhere i'll be there, if i have to lie about something then i'm not supposed to be there, and ultimately - if i lie it means i'm not trusting my God (the powers of the universe) and trying to create my own reality which i've learned never works for me. i'm not compfortable living a lie as well. i was never good at it. i think it's a drag that the numbers someone puts to themselves can hurt them and the best solution i have thus far is to just swear off telling anyone my age, ever. perhaps i should make that something i just don't do.

    anyone else's thoughts or experience with this???
  2. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    For some people age is a problem. I use a pool of musicians and whilst most of us are 40 something one guy's late 20's and another is 17. I have not used the 17 year old in a live situation (home recording) but must admit I have thought how it would look (especially as his dad is in the band).

    In your situation I would avoid the issue of age altogether until you actually get the gig. If you look early 30's and can work well in a band situation with 20 something's who cares.

    I dont have your problem-I don't look 40 (I look 50).
  3. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Look on the positive side - you're not going to get stuck in a band with a bunch of age-snobs, and you might end up falling into a group of slightly more open-minded people with whom you can follow your muse.

    Me? I'm thirty, but the beard probably adds a few years to the visual age ... :spit: (the nearest thing to a beardy smiley ;) )

  4. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    I always read the "board" at GC, or other local music stores.

    There are lots of "under 30" ads. I just chuckle. Because they don't want experienced musicians. Or they think that a certain look is going to work. And it just might.

    On the other hand, They always seem to need someone; "good" or "experienced" to fill a role.

    There may be hope for us "codgers" yet.
  5. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Here's a solution:

    Play Jazz.

    If you're 30, you'll be one of the young'ins and you get to sneer at the kids who think they know something...

    Then again, I'm pushing 32 and have been taken for a 20-something...
  6. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    That's too bad. I am sure you will find a good gig though. I really like your webpage. It shows your current project to be an exciting show.

    Lots of bands need that energy.
  7. From what it looks like, Mr. Nerve, you have more energy than many 16 year-olds I've seen.

    I don't know why someone wouldn't want a rockin' person, and if they were a little older, more the better!
  8. Well, if it makes you feel better, they selected their band members based on age rather than talent. Hmmm, I wonder how their music sounds...:rolleyes:
  9. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    well, joe, that just goes to show you. if you're going to lie about your age, then lie about your age. don't go back and forth.
  10. Steve S

    Steve S

    Jul 26, 2000
  11. How old *are* you?

    IMO, for someone to put you down based on your age is just stupid; you mihgt have been just what the band needed, or you might've had contacts that they just didn't.

    FWIW, I often prefer playing with the older guys (I'm 18) because they're just better, more experienced musicians.

    Hell, the best drummer I've ever played with is in his 40s - he's just far better than all the others on my music course, because he's grown up, to see that chops aren't everything, and that kinda thing.
  12. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    If I were you, I would refuse to answer. I'd offer a humorous, enigmatic answer rather than being confrontational in your refusal - and you strike me as the kinda guy who could carry that off. If pressed, say you've lost gigs because you were too young and lost them because you're too old and that you think that sucks donkey huevos (umm, or something like that).

    FWIW, it goes the other way, too. At 35, I admit that I've passed over some opportunities because the guys were too young. I'm just not interested in babysitting that set of unrealistic expectations that young players often share, because hell yeah, I've slept in the van and on the floor at so-and-so's girlfriend's apartment in collegetown, USA and slurped cold spaghettios from the can because soundcheck got delayed, and sucked up to contemptible A/R dweebs - and I'm not gonna give up a good career to do it all again! I'm not saying it's right, but I know what's right for me.

    It's a difficult moral issue, I guess, and one I obviously wouldn't claim any high ground on. I would definitely respect anyone who told me they weren't going to play that game, though.
  13. Tsal


    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    If their decision was made by age, I can understand it. If you are 10 or something years older than the rest of the guys, it's going to be odd both for you and the other guys.

    My band has me and my drummer who are in our early twenties and our two guitarists and singer who are in their later 30's - there's 15 years of age difference. We have pretty good balance in that, sometimes we even go out drinking together, but I woulden't want to be only kid in the group - nor the only grown up.

    I'm pretty sure you can find a good group of your own age around your area, though.
  14. I'm 25...my singer is 28, the guitarist is 38 and the drummer is 41. We play good ol' fashion rock. The age gap was never an issue when I was contemplating joining.
  15. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    If I were you, I'd sneak into one of their shows to check out the bass player who got the gig. If he/she is younger but can't play, well your suspicions are coinfirmed. And he/she becomes their problem.

    If the bass player in question is indeed a great player, it may justify their decision.

    Either way, it will confirm or deny your suspicions.
  16. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    I see all kinds of ads asking for people within a certain age group. I probably wouldn't answer them - it just shows that their priorities lie more with image than with music.

    If that works for them, fine, but it doesn't work for me.
  17. I answered an ad once looking for a bass player for a covers band in their early 30s. I told them I was in my forties, but would they be interested? They said fine, I showed up and it was a mistake (was a laugh at first). They played 90's covers that required me to copy verbatim the root note "stylings" of the originals (they didn't want any creative variation) - this was not my thing. One STP tune I was unfamiliar with, and I asked the guitarist what the chords were in a certain section of the song. He could show me where he put his fingers, but didn't know what the chords were.:rolleyes:

    Sometimes age may be an indication of musical maturity (certainly could indicate years of experience), but often it is not.
  18. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Agreed, O-man!

    When I was 20 I played in a cover band with 30somethings... I dealt with a similar guitarist. Bleeeeggh.

    Come to think of it, I've been the youngest in almost every band I've played in...

    They weren't ageist... but I agree that age has nothing to do with musical maturity.
  19. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    i hate to yet have to admit that i know where they're coming from. the woman i auditioned for has a record deal with a major label, and they want young people - period. she told me they went with a guy the drummer has been playing with for years. the drummer was 13 yrs younger than me, but i promise you'd never know by sight.

    if it didn't seem so clear to me that she wanted to use me before i told her my age, i'd think it was for other reasons. the "bad news" phone call came a couple of days later and i have to admit, if the other guy sounded good too, i might have made the same choice being in her shoes. at 50 (i'm not 50) it's not going to be that easy to pull off looking like i'm in my late twenties - but who knows.

    i've decided i can't tell my age because i was adopted and tossed around from family to family when i was kid. there was no birth certificate and I was kinda slow in developing - the people taking care of me always lied so i wouldnt get a "dumb" complex. they never knew my age anyhow. it's all a big blur, my childhood. i think i'm somewhere around 30 - or whatever the ad says.

    if it weren't for this business i'd shout my age from the rooftops cause i'm kinda proud that i got that peter pan thing happening.

    oh yeah-

    as fer what JT said, i agree. i think i mentioned however that i'm a really bad liar.
  20. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    I kind of come from the other camp. I really don't like to tell people my age, espcially a band that wants to audition me. I'm only 20, and it's usually automatically assumed that I'm inexpierenced and really don't know what I'm doing so I try not to let other musicians know my age until I show up to play. (Obviously they know I'm young when they see me) In my current band, the other members are 40. Just like Parrot, I've always tried to play with people older than me. The downside is I really would like to take a stab at doing something beyond a weekend cover band thing, and older people usually are set in careers and families so they can't just jump in a van or motorhome and go on tour. While at least here in BFE where good musicians period are hard to find.

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